Instagranimal: Animal Welfare and Animal Ethics Challenges of Animal-Based Tourism

Last changed: 22 October 2020

Publ. 2020. ABSTRACT: By animal-based tourism, a host of activities offering passive viewing or active interaction with wild, semi-wild or captive animals is included. The multibillion dollar industry is on the rise globally today, offering modes of engagement with animals that trade on increasingly embodied close encounters with non-human animals. As new modes of animal-based tourism proliferate, such as sloth selfies, visiting cat cafes, swimming with sharks and agri-tourism petting zoos, animal welfare standards risk deteriorating. In the following paper, we collate concerns over animal welfare into a discussion on the challenges facing animal-based tourism. Our synthesis is the first to consider the full spectrum of such animal-based tourism: across agri-, hunting, zoo and safari tourism, to name a few, and crossing consumptive and non-consumptive boundaries. A literature review is first provided. Findings are then presented thematically following workshops at an international interdisciplinary symposium of leading tourism, animal welfare, ethics and leisure sciences scholars together with practitioners of the industry. It discusses macrolevel drivers to animal-based tourism as an industry, the problem of cultural relativism and the role of technology in enhancing or promoting the experience. We indicate ways forward toward implementing a compassionate animal-based tourism.

von Essen, E., Lindsjö, J., Berg, C., 2020. Instagranimal: Animal welfare and animal ethics challenges of animal-based tourism. Animals 10(10), 1830,


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